In response to a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the Centre with the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the 2015 judgement of the High Court division bench, the SC on Friday sent notice to the Andhra Pradesh government to respond to the Centre. The HC division bench had ruled that the High Court for Andhra Pradesh can only be set up in Andhra Pradesh, be it temporary or permanent.
The two-member bench of AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued the notice and asked the Andhra Pradesh government to respond in two weeks time. The Andhra Pradesh state was not representaed in court.
The Centre in its SLP contended that under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, there is no bar that the existing common High Court cannot be divided into two respective high courts of the states (AP and Telangana) and shifted to a new building/premises in the same city until construction and constitution of a new High Court within the territory of AP state.
KK Venugopal, the Attorney General representing the Ministry of Law, told the Supreme Court that the Andhra Pradesh government, despite four years after bifurcation, has not yet constructed a building for the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He stressed on the need to divide the existing HC in Hyderabad between the two states. Venugopal argued that under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, no curbs on bifurcation of the Hyderabad High Court have been set even if construction of the building in Andhra Pradesh is pending.
At present, there are 24 court halls at the Hyderabad High Court that could be allocated to Andhra Pradesh for the functioning of the new High Court.
Senior Counsel for the Telangana state government, Mukul Rohatgi, supported the central government proposal to allocate the 24 vacant halls for setting up the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He told the apex court that the Telangana state government is even ready to vacate the existing premises and choose other premises for the functioning of the Telangana High Court if required.